How Did The Falls Mysteries Get Their Series Name?

How Did The Falls Mysteries Get Their Series Name?

Posted on July 24 by J.E. Barnard in Fiction, Mystery, Recent Releases
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Picture yourself fifty kilometers west of Calgary, at the point where natural prairie gives way to densely forested foothills. The hamlet of Bragg Creek sprawls along the picturesque Elbow River; its homes and businesses spread through the heavily-treed valley. Upstream are the Elbow Falls, Bragg Creek’s best-known tourist attraction. The Falls display their glacier-fed beauty in a pristine wilderness guarded by pathways and railings intended to keep the annual flood of visitors safe. Every few years someone chasing the perfect photograph passes a railing and slips off a rock. The current sweeps them over the lip, into the scour pit below The Falls. Search And Rescue volunteers respond with practiced efficiency; rarely does anyone come out alive.

 
The folks who live along the Elbow River see The Falls as a picnic destination and a source of pride and tourist revenue, but every spring those clear waters roil with potential destruction. In 2013, the worst happened. A combination of weather events and clear-cuts brought the heavy snowpack down from the peaks in record time. First to be destroyed were the stream-flow monitoring stations. A half-kilometer–wide wall of water and uprooted trees ate the entire picnic grounds and scoured The Falls down to bedrock.

 

At Bragg Creek the river didn’t so much jump its banks as ignore them entirely. Churning currents roared through homes and businesses, destroying many and damaging others. Five years later, tourism has returned, homes and businesses are rebuilt, but still the locals eye the river anxiously every June.

 

In When the Flood Falls, Dee and Jan, fictional residents, live high above the river and are only inconvenienced when, in 2013, the bridge and highway out to the drier prairie are submerged. To them the Falls are symbolic of lives and dreams washed away: Dee’s career crushed by a hit-and-run driver, and Jan’s own blood robbing her of stamina, concentration, and muscle control. They too are eyeing the river and the clouds each June, calculating the snow left on the peaks, and stocking up on groceries.

 

Into this annual anxiety steps ex-Mountie Lacey McCrae, Dee’s old university roommate. The thundering Elbow Falls, its murky waters churning ever higher and louder outside her new job, is both an inescapable reminder of near-drowning in her old job and a constant trigger for the terror of her near-fatal marriage. Adding to her worries, someone is prowling around Dee’s secluded home by night. As the danger to Dee escalates, Lacey must face her deepest fears and find the strength to keep afloat, or all three women will be swept away. 

The Falls Mysteries follow the precarious lives of thirty-something women, those lacking financial and familial life-rafts. One accident or illness, one bad career break or one bad breakup, can leave them anchor-less and adrift, at the mercy of the next sudden drop. There’s no coming back once you've gone over The Falls.

J.E. Barnard

Posted by KathrynB on August 29, 2017
J.E. Barnard photo

J.E. Barnard

J.E. Barnard’s first novella, Maddie Hatter and the Deadly Diamond, was a 2016 Prix Aurora finalist. When the Flood Falls won the Unhanged Arthur Ellis Award in 2016. She lives in Calgary.